By Peggy Revell on December 7, 2017.
A trial date has finally been set for assault charges against a man who has also been charged with second-degree murder.
On Wednesday at the Medicine Hat Courthouse, Judge T.G. Hironaka allowed the trial for two assault charges against Aaron Raj Anand Ford to be set for Aug. 29, 2018 — despite objections by a previous judge and the Crown to months of delay for what is expected to be just an 180-minute trial.
Anand-Ford remains in custody at the Medicine Hat Remand Centre awaiting trial for second-degree murder stemming from the death of 24-year-old Dustin Hewer on Nov. 5, 2016. The two assault charges date back to May 29, 2016.
Since the murder charge was laid, the assault charges fell by the wayside, and kept being adjourned. This changed during an October appearance, when the Crown pushed for the matter to proceed.
At that time, not-guilty pleas were entered, with an agent for defence counsel saying the earliest trial date available for the lawyer was in August, 2018.
The sitting judge called the delay “nonsense,” adjourning the matter so the lawyer could find an earlier date. At the next appearance on Nov. 29, the agent said because the August date was not secured it was now unavailable, and the next possible date would be December 2018 — causing the judge to call the situation “ridiculous” and once again adjourning so an earlier date be found.
At Wednesday’s appearance, Judge Hironaka put an end to the repeated adjournments, allowing defence counsel to set down a trial date for Aug. 29, and making it clear on the record that the months of delay are due to defence counsel — not the Crown or courts.
A mistrial was declared Wednesday for one of two men arrested in February, 2016 when police seized $15,000 in drugs and cash, alongside a shotgun after executing a search warrant at an apartment suite in the northeast part of Medicine Hat.
Facing a single count of drug trafficking, Mackenzie Osgood will next appear in court on Dec. 21 as he looks to retain a new lawyer.
Osgood’s co-accused, Taylor Weiss-Linder, pled guilty earlier this year to two counts of possession for the purpose of trafficking, one count of trafficking a controlled substance and one count of unauthorized possession of a firearm. She was sentenced to 48 months in prison.
It was another brief appearance Wednesday for a Winnipeg man charged with robbing two bank in Medicine Hat, three in Regina and one in Saskatoon.
The next appearance for Stephen Vogelsang is Dec. 13, possibly for a bail hearing.
The 54-year-old is accused of robbing Medicine Hat banks on Oct. 19 and 20. Following the arrest, Regina police announced they were laying additional charges against Vogelsang for robberies that occurred there in July and October. Saskatoon police announced this week another robbery charge against Vogelsang for one that occurred there on July 31.
If granted bail in Alberta, Vogelsang would still remain in custody due to warrants for his arrest issued in Saskatchewan.
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